If you happen to live in New York City, lady-luck is on your side because making rounds on the festival circuit is the Miriam Makeba documentary Mama Africa. The film, screening this weekend at the Tribeca Film Festival, approaches Makeba as an artist, activist, mother, grandmother and a human being said the film’s Finnish director Mika Kaurismäki.
According to Mail & Guardian, there are some surprises revealed in the film such as how her friendship with Israeli prime minister Golda Meir came to an end after her new husband Stokely Carmichael, the Black Panther leader, made a scathing remark about Israel. And the day after her marriage to Carmichael, all her American concerts were canceled. Also, Makeba revealed to an interviewer how she didn’t like the song Pata Pata stating “It’s a song with no meaning at all, about a dance called pata pata. I would have preferred another song to be popular.”
Kaurismäki originally conceived the documentary while Makeba was still alive but after she died he decided that the show must go on.
For nearly half a century, Grammy-winning South African singer Miriam Makeba—known to fans as “Mama Africa”—travelled the world with powerful songs of joy, love, and revolution that have resonated in the hearts of people across the world. Against the disharmonious backdrop of Apartheid and international liberation movements around the world, Makeba’s captivating melodies exposed the brutality and racism of the South African government and made her an early icon of Black freedom. Exiled from her homeland for nearly 30 years, Makeba moved to the US, but her controversial marriage to Black Panther Stokely Carmichael left her with revoked US record deals and cancelled national tours. In protest of an American brand of racism, Makeba moved to Guinea, where she continued her activism and leadership as the first black female representative to the United Nations.
Award-winning director Mika Kaurismäki’s inspirational tribute to Makeba is packed with five decades of rare archival footage, interviews, and excerpts from the legendary performances that exhilarated millions and inspired musicians like Harry Belafonte, Hugh Masekela, and Paul Simon.
For schedule and ticket information, go HERE.